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Bob Costas is receiving a lot of attention for having had the courage to say on a live mic on national television what almost no one else has had the courage to say at all on national television. And to understand how courageous it was of Costas, all one has to do is to recall that less than a month ago Mark Kelly made similar comments at an event that received plenty of media attention, while Kelly's words somehow received almost no media attention.

From his Wiki page, Mark Kelly:

[...] is a retired American astronaut, U.S. Navy Captain and naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War. He was selected to become a NASA Space Shuttle pilot in 1996 and flew his first mission in 2001 as pilot of STS-108. He piloted STS-121 in 2006 and commanded STS-124 in 2008 and STS-134 in 2011. STS-134 was his final mission and the final mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Kelly is married to U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords, the target of an attempted assassination in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8, 2011.

Last month, at the sentencing hearing for the man who shot his wife, and killed Christina-Taylor Green, Gabe Zimmerman, Judge John Roll, Dorothy Morris, Dorwan Stoddard, and Phyllis Schneck, Kelly said this:
We have a political class that is afraid to do something as simple as have a meaningful debate about our gun laws and how they are being enforced. We have representatives who look at gun violence, not as a problem to solve, but as the white elephant in the room to ignore. As a nation we have repeatedly passed up the opportunity to address this issue. After Columbine; after Virginia Tech; after Tucson and after Aurora, we have done nothing.

In this state we have elected officials so feckless in their leadership that they would say, as in the case of Governor Jan Brewer, "I don't think it has anything to do with the size of the magazine or the caliber of the gun." She went on and said, "Even if the shooter's weapon had held fewer bullets, he'd have another gun, maybe. He could have three guns in his pocket" – she said this just one week after a high capacity magazine allowed you to kill six and wound 19 others, before being wrestled to the ground while attempting to reload. Or a state legislature that thought it appropriate to busy itself naming an official Arizona state gun just weeks after this tragedy occurred, instead of doing the work it was elected to do: encourage economic growth, help our returning veterans and fix our education system.

To understand the courage it takes for people in the public spotlight to say what Costas and Kelly said, all one has to do is Google their names and the word "guns." Note how few major media sources come up, for Kelly, whose words were spoken under the media spotlight, but whose words about guns got very little media coverage. Then note how much major media notice Costas is receiving. The only difference is that Costas had a live mic, on a highly rated live television show, and his words therefore could not be ignored.

Mark Kelly and Bob Costas both spoke words that too many in this country want ignored, and that too many others in this country do not want ignored but do lack the political courage to discuss in public. It's well past time for this nation to have this discussion. In public. And not just in the political blogs.

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